Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (lit: Nissanka Flower-trail hall) is a pillared pavilion located in the Sacred Quadrangle of the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa.
Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (lit: Nissanka Flower-trail hall; Sinhala: නිශ්ශංකලතා මණ්ඩපය) is a pillared pavilion located in the Sacred Quadrangle of the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.


According to several historical sources, this building was constructed by King Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Coomaraswamy, 1927, Nicholas, 1963]. The portico slab inscription of Hetadage and the Gal Potha inscription have confirmed that this building was known at the time as Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (Wikramasinghe, 1928). Historical sources further reveal that this is the place where Nissankamalla worshipped the Tooth Relic of the Buddha or listened to the chanting of Pirith [(recital of Buddhist scriptures) Chaturawong, 2017; Nicholas, 1963].


Two inscriptions of King Nissankamalla have been found in this pillared pavilion.

Nissanka Latha Mandapa Slab Inscription

This inscription has been inscribed upon the surface of the coping slab to the basement of the Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (Ranawella, 2007). The text of this inscription is very similar to that of the Kirivehera Slab Inscription (Ranawella, 2007).

Nissanka Latha Mandapa pillar inscription

There are several inscriptions on the base of eight ornamental pillars but only one remains nearly complete (Ranawella, 2007). That inscription reveals that it was the pavilion where the king is listening to (the reciting of) Pirith (Ranawella, 2007).

The Building

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

The pavilion contains eight curvilinear pillars and is surrounded by a wall known as the Buddhist railing (Coomaraswamy, 1927; Wikramagamage, 2004). The pillars are fixed on an elevated stone platform and arranged in two rows, with four in each row. These pillars are considered unusual and unique as they have been curved like a lotus stalk with a flower as the capital. Stone pillars similar to Nissanka Latha Mandapa are also found in a ruined building near Satmahal Prasadaya.

The original building is thought to be covered with a roof. In the centre of the building is a small rock-cut Stupa of which the top has been truncated. This was probably used as a stand to receive the relic casket during Pirith chanting.

The stone Stupa in the center of the Mandapaya Pillars similar to Nissanka Latha Mandapaya are found in a building located near to Satmahal Prasadaya Nissanka Latha Mandapaya


1) Chaturawong, C., 2017. Mandapas of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. In India-Thailand Cultural Interactions. Springer, Singapore. p.68.
2)  Coomaraswamy, A.K., 1927. History of Indian and Indonesian art. London. p.165.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, vol VI, Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p.178.
4) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. pp.158-159,200.
5) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.210.
6) Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon: Vol. II. Published for the Government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, Amen House, E.C. London. pp.84-90, 121.

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This page was last updated on 14 November 2023

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